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Ducks sign Kesler to six-year contract extension

by David Satriano

Forward Ryan Kesler signed a six-year contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday that runs through the 2021-22 NHL season.

Financial terms were not released, but the Orange County Register reported it's worth $41.25 million, an average annual value of $6.875 million.

Kesler, who was entering the final year of a six-year contract, is confident the Ducks have what it takes to win Stanley Cup after coming up a game short of making it to the Stanley Cup Final last season.

"That dressing room is so close and we hold ourselves to the highest standards in there," Kesler said. "That group is not satisfied until we win a Stanley Cup, and when we do win the Stanley Cup, I don't think we're going to be satisfied then either. We're going to want to win another one, and we have the group to do it. … We were one game away from going to the Final. That experience will help us next year."

The Ducks were defeated by the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final. Kesler, 30, had 20 goals and 47 points in 81 regular-season games last season, and seven goals and 13 points in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"Obviously the feeling was mutual," Kesler said. "[The Ducks] wanted me and I wanted to stay. Great organization, great owners, great management that wants to win, and we have a great team. It's a great organization, and to be able to be a part of it for six more years, it's a good feeling."

It was an adjustment after spending the first 10 years of his career with the Vancouver Canucks.

"I felt more comfortable with voicing my own opinion, and battling with the guys night in and night out," Kesler said. "You become a family and I definitely feel a part of the core group now."

Selected by the Canucks in the first round (No. 23) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Kesler has 202 goals, 440 points and 669 penalty minutes in 736 NHL games. He said one factor in choosing to sign an extension was the Ducks' offseason moves, which included signing free agent forwards Chris Stewart and Shawn Horcoff, and trading for Carl Hagelin.

"To be honest, [management] didn't even have to prove [that they want to win]," Kesler said. "Knowing them and talking to them at the end of this year, and talking to them a bit in the summer, obviously the way the season ended left a sour taste in all of our mouths and we all thought we deserved better and we want better. We want to win the Stanley Cup.

"We lost some friends and some teammates, but it's part of the business. On the flip side, we picked up some really good guys and I'm excited. We're close [to a Stanley Cup]. We are right there. Now we just need to go there and do it. Start from scratch and start this ride all over again."

Kesler made the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 with the Canucks but lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games. The Ducks have won the Pacific Division each of the past three seasons and been the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference in each of the past two. His contract includes a five-year no-movement clause and a limited no-trade clause in the final year, according to TSN.

"I see myself and this team being good for a long time," he said. [The no-trade clause] was never an issue."

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